The Olympiastadion Berlin is located in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the Westend district . It is part of the Olympic site (originally: Reichssportfeld) and was used from 1934 to 1936 for the XI Games. Olympiad (August 1–16, 1936) with a capacity of 100,000 spectators built on the site of the German stadium previously located there. Today the Olympic Stadium is the home ground of the Hertha BSC football club from the Bundesligawho is also the main user of the stadium today. It currently offers 74,475 seats, 38,020 of which are on the lower ring and 36,455 on the upper ring.
The Olympic Stadium is a central part of the axially constructed Olympic site (formerly: Reichssportfeld), which also includes the Sports Forum , the Olympic Hockey Stadium, the Olympic Equestrian Stadium, the Olympic Swimming Stadium , the Waldbühne , the Maifeld , the bell tower and the Langemarck Halle , as well as the Stadium terraces belong. The east-west axis extends from the Olympic Square, where the main entrance is located, through the stadium to the bell tower. The oval stadium, which is also laid out in an east-west direction, is interrupted to the west by an opening above the marathon gate and opens a virtual oneLine of sight over the Maifeld to the bell tower. In the opening is the bowl for the Olympic flame and on the walls of the two pylons at the breakthrough, the so-called marathon plateau , the names of the gold medal winners of the Olympic competitions were immortalized. The main entrance area at the east gate – also called the Olympic gate – is highlighted by two 35 meter high towers, the Prussian tower in the northeast and the Bayern tower in the southeast, between which the Olympic rings are suspended. At the border to the Maifeld there are four such towers, symmetrically arranged to the east-west axis, Sachsenturm andFriesenturm north and Frankenturm and Schwalbenturm south of the axis. The less pronounced north-south axis runs from Flatowallee (formerly: Reichssportfeldstraße) via the entrance at the south gate , through the stadium and the Olympic swimming stadium.
The Olympic Stadium was partially designed as an earth stadium , in which only the upper ring, supported on numerous reinforced concrete pillars , protrudes above the ground level. The upper and lower rings are interrupted at the marathon gate, opposite on the east side, left in the north and right in the south, there are large display boards. All visible outer walls and pillars were clad with ashlar , mostly with Franconian shell limestone , only in some areas such as the marathon gate was the lighter Gauinger travertine for use. The grandstand area is located on the south side of the stadium. In its center was the “Führerloge”, accessible at ground level. Two passageways were created within the pillar ring, from which passages allow access to the lower ring and the upper ring. The Olympic Stadium is 303.48 m long and (from pillar to pillar) 228.31 m wide.
The stadium is surrounded by a flat outdoor area. The eastern corners of the rectangular basic shape are rounded. The outdoor area is limited to the north by the Olympic swimming stadium and to the west by the Maifeld. The areas directly adjacent to the stadium, as well as the entrances from the east gate and south gate, from the Maifeld and the area on the wall to the lower-lying swimming stadium are paved. The four corners of the site are left as a meadow. Behind the Prussian Tower at the east gate is the Podbielskieiche , an approximately 200-year-old protected natural monument that took its name, reminiscent of Victor von Podbielski , from a tree of the same name in the previous stadium.
The curves in the east are characterized by sculptures and steeles. From 1935 to 1937, the sculptures created discus thrower and relay runners from Karl Albiker . Of the two sculptures, which run towards the east gate, a winning stele each commemorates the German gold medal winners of the Summer and Winter Olympics since 1896, based on a model from ancient Greece . The memorial stones (Olympic steles ) have the architectural character of an outer ring of pillars. The transition to the Maifeld is made up of two Rosseführer sculptures by Joseph Wackerleframed. The four sculptures, like the cladding of the marathon gate, are made of Ginger travertine . They were carved out of a large stone block on site. The requirement for the artists was to reflect the architecture of the Reichssportfeld in the design of the sculptures.
The Olympic bell is set up at the passage west of the south gate. Before the days of mobile communication, it was a popular meeting place for viewers who had lost sight of each other in the turmoil. It is the bell that was hung in the bell tower for the 1936 Olympic Games . When the burnt-out bell tower was blown up in 1947, it fell to the ground and cracked. To protect against metal theft , it was first buried in the forecourt of the bell tower, found again in 1956 and dug up and set up in the outdoor area of the Olympic Stadium
In 1912, the 1916 Summer Olympics were awarded to Berlin. For this purpose, the German Stadium was built within 200 days inside the Grunewald racecourse, which was built in 1909, according to plans by the architect Otto March and inaugurated on June 8, 1913 for the 25th anniversary of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s throne . However, because of the First World War , the 1916 Olympic Games did not take place. After the First World War, Germany was excluded from the Olympic Games in 1920 and 1924 . With the participation of German athletes in the 1928 GamesGermany became a possible host of the Olympic Games again.
The XI. The 1936 Summer Olympics were awarded to Berlin on May 13, 1931 by the International Olympic Committee . Initially, the organizers of the games planned to convert the existing German stadium. Werner March , son of the architect of the German Stadium Otto March, was commissioned with the planning . According to his plans, the large ground stadium should be sunk deeper and the swimming pool removed from the opposite stand and relocated to the east curve. In this way, additional spectator seats should be gained and the spectators brought closer to the action on the field. In addition to the southern tunnel access, they wanted to build another tunnel from the east as an access under the racecourse to the stadium.
Contrary to the original plan to convert the German Stadium for the Olympic Games, the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler ordered the construction of a new large stadium in October 1933 because of the propaganda effect to be expected for Germany, and commissioned the previously responsible architect Werner March with the plans. Hitler visited the construction site in October 1934 and approved March’s design. He suggested the use of natural stones for the facade. In addition, he recommended March to meet the architect Albert Speer . This meeting probably took place in November / December 1934. According to the Speer biographer Magnus Brechtkenthe, the two architects quickly agreed. There were no “further meetings, conversations or influences from Speer” as von Speer claims in his autobiography. Furthermore, Hitler declared the building to be a matter for the Reich and reduced the role of the previously responsible city of Berlin from the Olympic planning. The surrounding racetrack should be given up and the leaseholder of the area, the Union Club , expropriated. This gave space to the west of the stadium for a large parade and assembly area, today’s Maifeld , which Hitler attached great importance to. The Olympic construction project was the first of Hitler’s major construction projects. As a result of the expansion of the existing planning, expenses rose from the originally calculated 5.5 million to 42 million Reichsmarks (adjusted for purchasing power in today’s currency: around 191.2 million euros). With the Olympic Games in Germany, he wanted to demonstrate to the world in a propagandistic way that the German Reich under his leadership was primarily a peace-loving, socially and economically aspiring country.
The stadium was opened on August 1, 1936 on the occasion of the XI. The Olympic Games opened after just 28 months of construction.
During the Second World War , the Blaupunkt company operated a production facility for detonators in the stadium catacombs . Parts of the catacombs were also used for air protection. In the last days of World War II, fighting took place near the Berlin Olympic Stadium. On April 28, Hitler ordered the Reich Youth Leader Arthur Axmann from the Führerbunker to defend the Havel crossing and the Reichssportfeld with his HJ division against the Soviets advancing from the west. The action was not very successful. The information about the exact circumstances and the losses differ greatly. While Axmann estimates only around 70 dead on the German side in his justification after the war, other sources speak of thousands of Hitler Youth dead.
At the end of the war there were bomb craters on the site of the Olympic Stadium and the bell tower was destroyed by fire.
In the grandstand on the south side there is a hall of honor and in front of it the grandstand with the former Fuehrer’s box , which in 1957 had to be shortened by two meters due to one of the last orders of the British military administration to cover the area in which Hitler was during the Stopped the Olympic Games to prevent a possible neo-Nazi cult site.
The bell tower was blown up in 1947 and rebuilt in 1962.
On September 26, 1969, the match between Hertha BSC and 1. FC Köln was 88,075, which was the highest number of spectators in a Bundesliga match .
The stadium was partially covered in 1974 for the soccer world championship that took place in the same year .
In the years 2000–2004, the Olympic Stadium was fundamentally rebuilt and modernized for the 2006 World Cup , while maintaining the sports operations, based on designs by the architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners . Walter Bau AG was chosen to carry out the renovation, which at that time was already in economic difficulties. After completing the major renovation work, it filed for bankruptcy on February 1, 2005 .
The competition area was lowered by a few ranks to create a denser atmosphere for football matches. The conservation issues of monument protection had to be taken into account during the renovation work . The old natural stones were individually sandblasted; in this way around 70 percent of the historical building fabric could be preserved. The outstanding features of the converted Olympic Stadium are the roof that now encompasses all tiers, on which continuous floodlighting (“ring of fire”) was installed, which does not create shadows or partial shadows during floodlit games. A blue tartan track was created at the request and expense of the Bundesliga soccer club Hertha BSCapplied in its club colors. The blue color scheme was criticized by the monument protection. The fear that water birds could land on the runway has not been confirmed.
Due to its specifications, all additions and modifications (additional ceilings, wall cladding, etc.) have been designed to be removable, so that the condition from before 2000 could theoretically be restored. In addition, new fire holders were installed in the aisles of the stadium, which are missing in photographs from 1936. A Christian chapel has been located on the ground floor of the stadium since 2004, the walls of which are covered with gold leaf . The ringing of the bells is played by means of a tape recording that was recorded in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
After completion of the construction work, the stadium now has 74,475 seats. The total cost of restructuring would amount to around 242 million euros , of which 196 million were taken over by the federal government. After the renovation, the Olympic Stadium was awarded the status of a five-star stadium by UEFA .
The official inauguration of the new stadium took place on July 31st and August 1st, 2004 with a large concert event, at which Nena , Pink and the conductor Daniel Barenboim performed, among others . On the second day, the Hertha BSC amateurs opened the season of the Regional Football League North against local rivals 1. FC Union Berlin , and a friendly match between Hertha BSC and Beşiktaş Istanbul was played. On September 8, 2004, the international match between Germany and Brazil was played in the Berlin Olympic Stadium (final score: 1: 1).
The stadium was the venue and the final venue for the 2006 World Cup . On January 13, 2006, FIFA announced that the opening ceremony for the World Cup in Berlin on June 7, planned by the Austrian artist André Heller , will be canceled. The 25 million euro show was supposed to be the festive prelude to the World Cup in Germany. Possible problems with the lawn in the Berlin Olympic Stadium for the following games were named as the reason. As “compensation” for the city of Berlin, a celebration was organized on Strasse des 17. Juni . On May 12, 2006, the “World Cup turf” for the stadium came straight from the Netherlandsdelivered in the same month in which many exhibitors presented their offers for the World Cup on the square in front of the stadium. During the 2006 World Cup, four preliminary round matches, the quarter-finals between Germany and Argentina (5-3 penit ) and the final between Italy and France (6-4 penit) took place in the stadium.
In 2007 it received the IOC / IPC / IAKS Award in gold, the only international architecture prize for sports and leisure buildings that have already proven themselves in operation (new buildings, extensions or modernizations). At the same time, it was awarded the IOC / IPC / IAKS Special Prize 2007 for handicapped-accessible sports facilities, which promotes the accessibility of sports facilities and all other buildings in order to give people with disabilities the opportunity to exercise or watch sport without restrictions and barrier-free
In 2009 the World Athletics Championships were held in the Olympiastadion Berlin , and Berlin was named as the venue on December 4, 2004. During this world championship, Usain Bolt set world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter run on the track at the Berlin Olympic Stadium , which still stand today with 9.58 and 19.19 seconds.
On May 30, 2015, the goal-line technology Hawk-Eye was used for the first time in Germany at the final of the DFB-Pokal competition 2014/15 between VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund . The game ended 3-1 for Wolfsburg.
The final of the UEFA Champions League was scheduled for June 6, 2015 in the Berlin Olympic Stadium. FC Barcelona could win 3: 1 against Juventus.
Hertha BSC has played its home games in the Olympic Stadium since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963 and is currently the main user. Tasmania Berlin , Tennis Borussia Berlin and Blau-Weiß 90 Berlin also used the Olympic Stadium as their home ground during their membership in the 1st or 2nd Bundesliga. The final of the DFB Cup has been held annually in the Olympic Stadium since 1985 ; this is currently contractually agreed with the DFB until 2025. By 2009, there was also the final of the German Cup women instead. 1974 and 2006World Cup games were played in the Olympic Stadium, and the final in 2006 . In 2011 the women’s soccer world championship opened here. The stadium will host the 2024 European Football Championship . The Berlin Thunder American football team played its home games in NFL Europe in the Olympic Stadium from 2003 to 2007 . In addition, athletics competitions such as the annual ISTAF are held.
Other major events
Occasionally the stadium is also used for major events without a sporting character, such as church days or concerts. On July 12, 2008, Mario Barth set the world record as the “live comedian with the most viewers” by performing in front of 70,000 spectators in the Olympic Stadium. On September 22, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated as part of his visit to Germany a holy mass in the Olympic Stadium. Every year around 300,000 tourists visit the Olympic Stadium.